AL_A has won a competition to design a new mosque within the Foster + Partner-designed World Trade Center complex in Abu Dhabi. The 2000-square-meter project, envisioned as a "pathway to serenity" rather than a single building, leads visitors on a journey through an informal park of palm trees that slowly align with the mosque's shifted grid as users approach the Prayer Hall. Once inside, visitors are facing towards Mecca.
"The mosque is envisaged as a piece of the city, one that reflects the journey from the temporal to the spiritual," said AL_A director Ho-Yin Ng. "The mosque and the garden become one, with the trees and the columns forming an informal vertical landscape and allowing Friday prayers to spill outside."
Within the Prayer Hall, intricate latticework form a forest of slender columns that are illuminated by circular skylights overhead. This, as AL_A says, creates a "play of light and shadow" that "animates the space and activates the senses."
"The minaret signifies the mosque's presence in the wider landscape of the city," AL_A adds. "Ethereal, delicately perforated and self-supporting, it is dislocated from the roof yet formed of the same proportions as the columns that constitute the rest of the mosque."
AL_A will collaborate with landscape architecture firm Gross Max on the project.